Designing Memory

Manhattanville College will host “Designing Memory,” a multimedia immersive event starting at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, which is free and open to the public. Join Manhattanville College in exploring the relationships among spaces, architecture, monuments, and the construction of memory and identity. The Keynote address, “Public Spaces: Women Take Their Places,” will be given by Coline Jenkins, activist, author, and legislator.

Designing Memory will lead visitors on a tour through the Manhattanville campus stopping at specific locations for performances and discussions surrounding the college’s history, the removal of religious monuments, and the formation of memory and identity. Manhattanville faculty, staff, and students will make special presentations and performances that explain each location that will be visited. A special performance will be put on by Manhattanville dance students at the Lady Chapel, the oldest of the three remaining family chapels in Westchester County, NY, built in 1867 by Ben Holladay for his wife Ann, which was restored with a glass roof in 2004 by architect Maya Lin.

Designing Memory was conceptualized to ask the questions: Can statues be sentenced to death? Can and should memory be deleted or erased? Throughout history, humans have tried desperately to assert their sense of who they are, their memory, and identity through external markers, paintings, statues, written documents, songs, and monuments. But what happens to these monuments and statues when our sense of who we are changes?

“There has been a lot of debate in the world recently about the role of monuments. What they mean, what it means to create them, what it means to destroy them, how we react to them, and how they define spaces. We wanted to do a deeper dive into those ideas because sometimes when an issue is in the news, it becomes polarizing as if there is something to be ‘for’ and something to be ‘against,’” explained Manhattanville College President Michael Geisler, who edited the book National Symbols, Fractured Identities: Contesting the National Narrative (Middlebury Bicentennial Series in International Studies, 2005). “We are eager to host this important program and future events with the goal of reestablishing Manhattanville College as a center for intellectual conversations about critical contemporary issues for Westchester County.”

Manhattanville College was once home to several religious monuments that held deep meaning for the Sacred Heart Order. They were removed in 2005, without a campus conversation. In addition to the removal of religious monuments, the Board of Trustees voted to remove “Of the Sacred Heart” from the official college name in 1966.

Event Breakdown:

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Performance Caravan around campus (Reid Castle)

6:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Memory Museum (Reid Castle, 1st floor)

6:45 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Community Reception with Refreshments

7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Coline Jenkins Keynote Address, “Public Spaces:

Women Take Their Places” and Panel with Q&A, West Room, Reid Castle

Register here:

Additional Information

  • Sponsor: Manhattanville College
  • Contact Name: Heidi Raker
  • Contact Email:
  • Website:

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